Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged) - Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 174 | Reviews: 133 | Display Reviews Only:
4.95/5 rDev +22.8%
What can I say about this? I really did not even think I was going to get a bottle of this, but my sis went up to Jersey for the weekend and brought me back a few. Needless to say when she showed up at the door with them I was a tad excited. I had heard in advance of the problems with the over carbonation so I let one sit in the fridge for a couple days before opening and was lucky enough to avoid any problems with it. So the lovely 750ml bottle got poured into my over sized wine glass for a nice after dinner snack.
Appearance - The pour was extraordinary. Really just breathtaking with how good this one looked. A rich dark brown, nearly black emerged from the bottled and rattled around the inside of the glass producing a nice three inch high head f tan colored foam. A full blossoming head that stayed all the way through the session, never getting rocky or having any cratering done to it, rather it just slowly settled down and left behind tons of side glass lace that seemed to get thicker the further into the session we proceeded.
Smell - The aroma was nothing short of fantastic. The first notes to hit you were the nice sour funk that was present from the barrels. Really just a very nice sour and tart aroma that overpowered everything else and really took me by surprise coming from a big porter. There were some nice underlying hints of chocolate and coffee as well; making this one of the most interesting style crosses I think I have come across. I mean a rich imperial porter, smoked, aged in sour wine barrels. It was just as good as it sounded, wonderfully complex and unique, I could have had this made into a candle it was so good!
Taste - Well I do not even know what to say about this. It was just remarkable and very interesting from the first sip. The smoky flavor starting to come through in here now, after being nearly absent in the aroma. Nice chocolate malts and hints of roasted coffee throughout as well. This was a nice sweet porter, and I even could pick up hints of vanilla way in the back. However, once it hit about the middle of the sip, wow that sour note just really kicked in. These must have been one hell of a set of barrels this was aged in as they were all over the flavor as well. The finish even was dominated by a long drawn out sour flavor that really just was just the icing on the cake. Very nice indeed and definitely in a class of its own.
Mouthfeel - This was a nice robust porter with a medium Mouthfeel and as you could imagine, absolutely awesome carbonation. A nice velvet like smooth feel going down, the bubbles tingled your tongue and kept it active throughout. There was a nice dry feeling in the finish. I have to admit, I was again really surprised with how well this went down.
Drinkability - This was outstandingly drinkable, I literally could have had this one all day long! It was just the ideal drinker, with a medium body, the alcohol all but gone and that nice sour bite that was perfectly laid in without being overbearing, I could not have asked for this to have come off any better.
Overall I think I am in love with this beer. I would be hard-pressed to trade any of the ones I have left as this was really just too good to imagine. I have longer for a big sweet porter with a sour bite like that. Really just great. If you can get up there to get this one, you really need to, it was just that good!
04-26-2008 13:54:52 | More by mikesgroove
4.78/5 rDev +18.6%
Pours a dark earthy brown with a silky tan head. Nice lacing and retention.
Nose has ripe fruits, smoked malts, barnyard funk, chocolate, coffee, tart citrus, oak and red wine.
The taste again has sour funk up front followed a big roasty porter, cocao, espresso, molasses, cherries, musty oak, dry pinot, smokey peat and more musty funk.
Medium body with velvety smooth carbonation. Nice dry, acidic finish. Could drink this all night.
Near perfect balance, quite a unique ale. A big robust porter and wild yeast brought together in wodden wine barrels. What more can one ask for?
05-22-2009 05:29:40 | More by rye726
4.75/5 rDev +17.9%
750ml bottle acquired in trade with jjpm74 (thanks!). Bottle labeled batch 1.
We did this side by side with a growler of the regular smoked porter. Poured a dark, dark brown color with a larger sized off white head. As soon as I took the cap off, the aromas of red wine hit me. It was strong but not overpowering in a bad way. Aromas of red wine, woody oakiness, chocolate, and vanilla. At times, the wood and wine would alternate as the primary aroma. Tastes of red wine (not as strong as the aroma), vanilla, oak, grapes, and a trace of chocolate. The aging in the barrels completely transformed this beer. The body also became nice and full vs. the thinness of the regular version. Hands down this was 100% better than the regular!
Notes from 4/6/07
11-10-2008 01:29:03 | More by hopdog
4.75/5 rDev +17.9%
This was another very special offering I was able to enjoy at a Captain Lawrence event at the Blind Tiger in NYC recently. I saw that they had this beer on cask and went straight for it. I'd had a bottle of it in the past and enjoyed it a great deal, so I was really looking forward to trying it fresh off the cask.
The appearance was a fairly flat black with very little head and not much to it--no surprise for a cask porter like this--but it did have a slight ruby hue when held up to the light. The smell began to introduce the winey undercurrents in the beer, but the sour and grapey notes of the merlot barrels really hit the pallet upon taking the first sip. After a quick and sour assault, the flavor mellows and allows the depth and smokiness of the porter itself to come through, giving this beer an ideal balance.
After I'd had this and another offering (the Golden Delicious on draft!), I ordered whatever their other cask brew was. The server screwed up and gave me another glass of the Smoke from the Oak off the cask. I didn't complain at all, and indeed cherished the rare opportunity to soak in the unique joys of this sublime brew once more. There's a reason I put this bad boy up as my avatar--it's got to be the best beer I've ever tasted!!!
05-12-2008 20:00:41 | More by TaddyPorter
4.72/5 rDev +17.1%
750ml bottle consumed during brew day.
A: Super dark brown on the verge of being black. Quite a bit of slightly off white tannish head. Decent amount of lacing. Be warned. This bottle gushed like crazy when it was opened and it was at 50 degrees so open over the sink.
S: Merlot really dominated this one. The porter is still in there but the wine has choked much of the life out of it.
T: Merlot up front again then you got hints of the porter. The taste and mouthfeel were very dry. Once it warmed up some then you got more of the porter in the way of some roasted tastes and hints of fruit as well from the barrel. No hints of funk as of yet but this bottle is still very fresh. The smoke is all but gone. The Pleasantville Smoked porter is not a very smoky beer to begin with though. Really interesting beer. So comlplex every sip yielded something different.
M: The mouthfeel was super dry like a red wine. Tartness as part of the mouthfeel? Why not.
D: Definitely a sipper as the beer is so complicated. Would love to try this on cask if that would ever be possible. Another great beer from Captain Lawrence.
04-06-2008 18:06:14 | More by aerozeppl
4.7/5 rDev +16.6%
Batch 2 consumed on the occasion of bwyker's ambitious brew day. We inadvertently paid tribute to our hommies due to hyper-carbonation upon opening.
A- Poured a deep brown with rich copper highlights. Nice fluffy coffee coloured head which lasts for a long time. Sexy.
S- Chocolate & merlot. Lots of malt. Again, sexy.
T- This is not what I'd anticipated at all. Very strong presence of the merlot & wood. The smoke is almost all but gone. There's just a touch left in the initial taste and the fumes.
M- A little full-bodied for a porter, but appropriate with the heavy wine flavors imparted by the wood.
D- The heavy wine flavors prohibit quick consumption of this beer. Consume as you would a fine merlot.
Again, another masterpiece from Captain Lawrence
04-06-2008 21:01:58 | More by Avryle
4.7/5 rDev +16.6%
750 ml bottle acquired in a trade with radiorandy, thanks for giving me the opportunity to try this unique beer, batch one, poured into my Russian River pint glass
A-Extremely dark brown color but not quite black, two inch creamy light tan head that left a pillow on top of the liquid, great retention, awesome lacing all the way through too
S-Red wine, roasted malt, burned toffee, some caramel, faint coffee aroma, smokiness, cherries, grapes, vinegar, milk chocolate, sweet fruit, and funk
T-Initially felt the wine with a tartness at the very beginning, then a dry and creamy porter in the middle, followed by some more sour accents, tart became less strong as time went by unfortunately, could taste a little coffee and cocoa later, aftertaste became drier with pretty much each sip, taste was like not close to anything I have experienced in the past, would never have thought these two would mix so well
M-Dry and tart mouthfeel, medium to thick bodied, nice level of carbonation, taste lingered for about two minutes, creamy texture and somewhat sour feel was unique
D-Could have drank the entire bottle but chose not to, not too heavy on the stomach, seems like the alcohol woould be high but the bottle or website does not say, smooth, easy to drink, alcohol is hidden
Last of the Captain Lawrence beers in my cellar and it defintely gave Cuvee de Castleton a run for its money if not beating it, never had anything like this before, would definitely drink again in the future, recommended
03-29-2008 23:41:32 | More by Floydster
4.65/5 rDev +15.4%
Thanks to LittleBreeze for this rare treat. I poured this into my challis from a batch 2 bottle. I am glad I read some reviews so I was prepared for a gusher I didn't lose much. The bottle produces a good few fingers worth of tan head that turned onto a thick lace. The body was a nice ultra dark brown color.
Aromas of funk hit you first then some nice roasted malts, smoke, wine and some wood. Wow tons of stuff going on with this brew.
Truly this is a complex brew in all aspects. The flavors of this brew are extremely weird in a good way it's a smoke porter, roasted malt flavors of coffee and chocolate .then you get the smoke flavors as well as the wine barrel ageing effect.
I drank the bomber watching the Pats today and it drank well but the bomber was quite enough for me in one sitting. Glad I was allowed to try this brew, my first Captain Lawrence. Thanks again LittleBreeze I really appreciate it
09-07-2008 18:33:32 | More by joepais
4.63/5 rDev +14.9%
22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.
It pours a dark brown with a nice dense tan head that lingers.
I'm picking up some malt sweetness and a little bit of oak on the nose. There also seems to be some lactic sourness as well which is a real nice surprise.
The initial taste is this dark fruit and then some tartness. It is very rich and full bodied. There are some dark cherry notes as well. It doesn't say but i'm guessing these were aged in red wine barrels, maybe Cabernet. Just a little bit of the vinegar notes but mostly just a nice sour edge going one. I just love everything about it.
The flavor profile is similar to the NG Olde English porter and I wish more breweries would make something like this. I am now on the search for all the other variations of this beer.
01-13-2010 23:11:09 | More by weatherdog
4.6/5 rDev +14.1%
A-pours a dark black liquid with a thick creamy light tan colored head.
S-notes of wood and sour tart cherries up front, hints of acidity, touch of roasted malts, hints of sour red grapes, a good bit of brett.
T-light roasted malt up front, sour cherry and red grapes, dark chocolate, touch of espresso, a good bit of wood, balsamic, acidity, and brett in the finish.
M-very smooth on the palate, medium body, huge carbonation, prickly in the back, crisp and hint of dryness in the finish.
D-this is extremely tasty, more like a sour and in a great way. vinous in the back with notes of merlot. great offering.
06-08-2010 23:55:44 | More by cpetrone84
4.6/5 rDev +14.1%
Bottle into red wine glass, batch 3, picked up at the release. Review starts at around 45 degrees and up.
Note: everything about this beer was better to me between 45-55 degrees. Once it warmed up past that, it got a bit wilder in terms of the Brett, but lost a lot of the complexity, and the increased temperature and acidity seemed to thin out that amazing body. So definitely don't be afraid to give it a nice chill before opening.
Pours opaque black, with a nice, thick, creamy head from an aggressive pour. As the head recedes, the foam doesn't budge from the wall of the class. Nice looking beer.
Nose is really impressive. So much going on. Up front, you've got a big dose of bretty funk - crisp, some lemony acidity, some horseblanket. The chocolate comes out pretty clearly underneath, along with a light, dry smokiness, and the wine barrel is the final piece of the puzzle, with a nice, well integrated vinous note that has some red grapes coming out. Wow. I'm crazy impressed with this nose. So complex, but everything works with everything else.
Taste is nice as well - by now we're up to around 50 degrees. Brett is the most prominent note - lemony, a bit tart up front, acidic, lots of green apples, but quickly tempered by the nice, smooth malt body - smoke comes out more as a dryness where the smoke is hinted at, with a nice chocolaty body underneath that really takes on the dryness from the smoke. Just a bit of the red wine on the swallow, almost coming out more as sour cherries at times, but it comes out more on the long finish, which also carries a bit of chocolate and some lemony acidity from the brett along as well. I have to say, this is my third bottle of this beer, and this one is by far the best of the bunch so far. This has really turned into a world class beer.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, full, lush.
Drinkability is fantastic. The flavors are so in sync that nothing wears on you, and the abv is reasonable and doesn't show up at all in the beer. Overall, a really fine offering.
06-02-2009 20:42:47 | More by JohnQVegas
4.58/5 rDev +13.6%
Batch 2 acquired right from the source. Open this one over the sink, lots of people, including myself are having some serious overflowing on opening. I lost almost 1/4 of the bottle of this delicious stuff.
A: A very dark brown, with a dark red where the light shines through. A thick, lasting tan head, with amazing lacing.
S: The smoky, roasted porter shines through in the scent, as well as a heavy grape wine scent (I don't know wine, but merlot I believe). Slightly malty and a bit of coffee.
T: Such a complex taste. The slight sour of the wine hits you hard first, I really thought I was drinking a wine, but then the porter comes in and reminds me what I'm drinking. Sip after sip the flavors balanced out, with more chocolate and coffee coming out.
M: Feels fairly thick, with nice mild carbonation. Very smooth, with a lingering dry tartness
D: This took me a while to drink. Maybe I was just savoring it. Possibly the tart flavors of the wines. Not a bad thing, this is one to enjoy for a while
EDIT: An email from Scott:
I have had a few people contact me about bottles gushing beer upon opening. This is a highly carbonated beer by design, and will gush if opened when not properly chilled... think of a bottle of champagne if opened warm. Please allow this beer to chill in the fridge for at least a day prior to opening. There is also yeast on the bottom of the bottle, like all of our bottled beers, and this must have time to settle in order to avoid the CO2 "jumping" out of the bottle.
04-12-2008 01:49:12 | More by fl0w
4.55/5 rDev +12.9%
Pours jet black with a fluffy tan head. In the aroma, sweet wine, hints of oak and roast, and as it warms up a hint of smoke comes out. In the taste, tart raspberries, dry and oaky red wine, and a slight presence of smoke. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry to sweet red wine like aftertaste. Very wine like, but not as smokey as expected, but fantastic nonetheless.
12-04-2010 18:45:40 | More by OWSLEY069
4.53/5 rDev +12.4%
Note: Bottled in '10, been in the fridge since then.
A: Poured syrupy from a bomber bottle into a pint glass. Dark-chocolate black with a creamy, khaki, 1-finger head. Minimal lacing.
S: Smoky, bacon-flavored nose up-front. Rich, sweet, inviting. Roasted caramel and chocolate malts, with big berry hints, dark cherries, vanilla, coffee, dark chocolate, all smelled as if they were put in a smokehouse together. Beautiful nose.
T: Big, bold, beautiful beer. Tart and sweet up-front, malty and smoky on the finish with a mellow, slightly toasted aftertaste. Too many flavors to describe in here: Sour grapes, cherries, vanilla-hazelnut coffee, roasted malts, woodsmoke, hickory, and a touch of alcohol esters. This beer tastes like an intimate campfire with friends in your mouth. Delicious.
M: Smooth and silky, but lacking a touch in the robust department. It's a tad watery and thin compared to what one would expect. The overall afterfeel of dry smoke is very appealing, and the thinner nature of the beer isn't a negative, as the flavor doesn't get crowded out by a big robust feel.
O: It's a shame this beer is no longer available, because it is a great "special occasion" beer to be enjoyed in the company of friends and family, around a fire, at a table of cards after dinner, or on a day you want to remember. This beer will stick with you as the cherry on top.
02-03-2012 21:18:48 | More by TangTKE402
4.5/5 rDev +11.7%
Poured from a 750ml bottle into a DT tulip. Special thanks to Ineedabeerhere for this from a trade from a while ago!
A: Pours a typical porter black. Some faint lighter brown notes at the edge of the glass. Capping this is about 1 1/2 fingers of rich, dark khaki colored foam that featured excellent retention and left some pretty lacey webbing in the glass.
S: Excellent aromas of slightly tart red wine, but also scents of the base Smoked Porter. Roasted malt, smoked chocolate malt, Cabernet and/or Pinot Noir, and fresh not quite ripe berries.
T: Exactly as above with a late addition of dark chocolate covered cherries and a bit of funk and sodden barrel.
M: Smooth and velvety with the perfect amount of prickle on the lips and tongue.
D: I have to say that, so far, this has been my favorite in the SFTO series. I think my preference lies in the fact that you can easily pick out characteristics of its' Smoked Porter base. Now I just need to try the Bourbon SFTO to complete the series.
01-19-2010 01:28:34 | More by GbVDave
Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.